abk-inkubator beta


<title>On playing, seeing, and making</title>
<subtitle>The design foundations class in architecture and industrial design at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design</subtitle>
          Our faculty of imagination has always been our most precious resource. It is a unique capability that is not probed in today’s educational system, but rather for the most part is circumvented through prescribed approaches. The goal appears to be to produce results that are regularised and standardised. What takes place is more a transfer of knowledge than the production of knowledge.

Accepting and starting from notions of what an education means and what societal need and use and economic viability mean, we usually lack the categories and schemata for knowledge and perception that are a necessary condition for creativity and innovation. Such patterns are nothing new in our mind-sets; they are already anchored in the structure of our consciousness. They are examined, described and compared above all in aesthetics.[1]

So how does one create an environment that makes precisely these patterns of thought possible and encourages new students to embark on a journey of discovery with an open-ended outcome, far afield of conformity and consumption of knowledge?

        In his 1750 work “Aesthetica”, Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten describes the term cognitio sensitiva as a special aesthetic capability, complementary to scientific and conceptual knowledge, that specialises in the perception of complex phenomena: not with the intention to analyse them, but to envision them in their vivid fullness.

Immanuel Kant later took this further, arguing that it was not a matter of determining or classifying something, but rather of perceiving the plenitude of its qualities and recognizing the uniqueness of its particular nature. A distinction is made here between the sensible cognition of the particular and the conceptual cognition that is directed towards generality, that is, the concept.

This sensitive form of perception does not only apply to works of art. It can help us at any time to recognise the individuality, distinctive nature, or specificity of a situation or an object.[2]

        A balance of intuitive and discursive perception must be established and taught in order to motivate the actual production of knowledge beyond the transfer of knowledge, which is based on a mutual tension between science and art, and which fosters other forms of reference to the object that have the dimensions of what Baumgarten called cognitio sensitiva.

Modern science made the experiment into a controlled design that produces a result in order to confirm or refute assertions. The aesthetic approach can help us to once again understand research and experiments as cognitive activities without a specific purpose, which produce new knowledge. In educating future generations, then, our task is to create open spaces that block out convention and specific goals in order to introduce unconventional processes of thinking and creating.

        In this context, the design foundations class in architecture and industrial design understands itself as an Incubator that offers first-year students a sheltered space for these first intuitive design steps, and at the same time is able to make these steps more radical and more concrete over the course of the year. Through undirected, intuitive and initiative-based play with materials, the students are freed from the compulsion and duties of the definable and of instrumental action. It is through play, experimentation, observation and conception that their activity first is legitimated in the process and their own practice manifests itself in the form of new questions and approaches.

The works depicted in this archive are snapshots of the design processes of students engaged in research – researching in an aesthetic spirit and thus in a spirit that is not defined by prescribed rules, but rather through that aesthetic play that develops its own internal coherence and set of rules in the process.

Prof. Fahim Mohammadi
Chair of Design Foundations and
experimental Design at the
Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design

[1] Cf. Martin Seel, Ästhetik des Erscheinens,
Frankfurt am Main 2003, esp. p. 16ff.

[2] Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten,
Theoretische Ästhetik, tr. and ed. H. R. Schweizer,
Hamburg 1983, p. 11ff.

Impressum  Datenschutz